We now know the drill; it’s the end of January, it’s still colder than down South and there’s a strange sense of ‘I’m sure there’s something that should be happening around about now’ …YES! It’s the annual Network-North Don Bosco Day Celebration!
For a few years now, the Salesians of the North have been emerging from their various caves and crevices in order to celebrate the feast day of the man himself. Hosting the mass for the past two years, the Hidden Gem was once again thwarted in its efforts to elude and was found by the growing mass of both young and slightly less young Salesians that were in attendance on that bitterly cold Saturday morning.
Celebrated by a plethora of Priests and led by the musicians of Brettargh Holt, we all knew this was going to be a gudd’un – and, as expected, it didn’t disappoint. As usual, the congregation of locals welcomed us and joined us in hearty song, though perhaps it was a shame that no one was available to teach them the appropriate clapping points and action sequences many ex-volunteers still enjoy emphatically performing.
After a thoughtful sermon about pitching tents (symbolically) from the former Provincial Michael Winstanley, the mass concluded with the retreat favourite ‘Come Let Us Go’, and, always willing to please, we did. (after clogging up the entrance to the church for the obligatory ‘we were all here and are smiling loads’ picture) After this however, we did depart for the Moon Under Water public house, where the hungry took advantage of the opportunity to taste some of the finer cuisine Manchester has to offer, the thirsty could sample some guest ales, and all were given the chance to have a good old-fashioned natter, a good opportunity to catch up on all the current events in the Salesian world.
The Salesian spirit on this day was not only evident in the way mass was truly celebrated, or in the way Fr Bob took it upon himself to thank everyone he could think of (including himself), but it was emblazoned on the faces of all those that attended. Smiling and contented in each others’ company, united in the celebration of the man for whom they are mutually-inspired.